The idea being that only farms meeting those standards could be registered with CITES and be allowed to trade bear products internationally.Back in July 2000, the Chinese government signed an agreement to deliver 500 bears to the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF), providing them with veterinary care, rehabilitation, and sanctuary. It was agreed that by 2005 these bears would be taken from the most primitive farms in the Sichuan province, which the government would then shut down, and that during the following ten years the program would be expanded into other provinces.
AAF has rescued over 700 bears since 2000 and those who have survived will live out their days in their safe, secure sanctuary in China. Many bear farms have been closed down and no new licences have been issued by the Chinese government.
While this may represent a small percentage of the total number of bears on farms in China, the Moon Bear Rescue Centre is a focal point for education and awareness on the issue, attracting a tremendous amount of local and international interest. People all over China have been shocked by reports in the media on the bear farming industry. The bears surrendered to the rescue centre come in all ages and condition.
Perhaps one of the most important roles of the sanctuary is the compilation of veterinary and scientific evidence which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that bear farming is inhumane and hurts wild bear populations as well. With this evidence, it is hoped that China will eventually end bear farming for good.
The rescue work continues under the direction of the remarkable Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO of AAF and ostensibly miracle worker on behalf of Moon Bears.
AAF has a huge undertaking: the rescue, rehabilitation and care of all rescued bears in China and Vietnam for the rest of their years while steadily working towards ending bear farming.
To be successful they need the help of people like you to volunteer your time to help spread the word about the plight of the bears, and to raise the precious funds necessary for them to continue this vital work.
There are AAF support groups in various places across the UK, and in other countries, and there are lots of small, practical but vitally useful ways you can help. Please visit the AAF website for more information.